Back in January, Danny Robins launched a new podcast – The Battersea Poltergeist.
For those who don’t know, the Battersea Poltergeist was a real thing which terrorised the family living at 63 Wyecliffe Road in Battersea from 1956 to 1968. The focus of the ghost’s attention was 15-year-old Shirley Hitchings who we actually hear from later in the series. A real-life ghost story.
A top quality combination of dramatisation, real witness interviews and interactive investigation made for a compelling listen. Live listen-alongs on Twitter drew people in and a mini-phenomenom was born. I was one of those hooked into the spectacle and whole-heartedly recommend it for it’s jaw-dropping revelations and genuine frights.
Danny’s ability to turn his interest in ghosts into a fascinating story is also clear from the success of 2:22 A Ghost Story, a play written by Robins. It’s due its second run at the Gielgud Theatre in London from December 4th. Check out that cast, by the way. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Encanto), James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons, Krypton) and Giovanna Fletcher (Champion Podcaster, Winner of I’m A Celebrity 2020, married to Strictly / McFly star Tom Fletcher). That’s a line-up hot enough to thaw a cold Swedish winter.
Danny’s now back with a new paranormal themed podcast, Uncanny. Each episode investigates a different story interviewing the people affected. All 15 episodes are a new case which Danny will be trying to get to the bottom of.
Episode 1 of Uncanny is called The Evil in Room 611. It’s on BBC Sounds. Here’s the blurb.
Danny meets Ken, a highly respected geneticist. A man who doesn’t believe in ghosts, but cannot get over the fact that he believes he saw one 40 years ago as a student in Belfast. This is the story of a student bedroom that seems to have a mysterious and frightening impact on those who sleep in it, of poltergeist activity, sinister apparitions and a dark force that Ken describes as ‘pure evil’. What is the secret of Room 611 and is it supernatural or in the minds of its inhabitants?
It’s 28 minutes and 31 seconds long, and I’m diving in.
Ken’s what you’d call a credible witness. He’s a genetic scientist, calm and doesn’t seem like he’s pursuing lies for the sake of attention. This is all adding weight to his story of a mysterious, evil presence which invited itself into his student accommodation in Belfast.
I’m 15 minutes in, and Ken’s been subject to some right old imitidating behaviour. Having his bedsheets grabbed, footsteps, and a good shaking down of his bedroom door over a couple of nights. He’s a brave soul, and goes up to open the door while it’s being rattled off it’s hinges. There’s nobody there. It’s clearly sinister, and Ken describes it as evil as a physical force. An absence of good. The first vision in his room was the blackest black he’s ever seen.
Now it turns out that the room is known for previous unexplained incidents. Books flying off walls, observed by the occupants of the room the year before.
Ken returns the following year and, fortunately, is living in another room in the building. But that means that his old room has new occupants. Soon enough, they approach Ken to tell them of their experiences. The two occupants of the room find themselves having the same nightmare at the same time. Now, that’s not normal. They have nightmares who’s storyline continues from one of the flatmates dreams into the other. This is like Freddy Krueger material, but it appears to be real.
Is this a spirit feeding on the nervous energy of new students? Or the anxieties of newly moved-out young people which just so happens to occur in the Room 611 for three years in a row?
Also on board is parapsychologist Caroline Watt and ordained minster and paranormal writer Peter Laws who attempt to provide explanations of Ken’s experiences. Danny himself provides a very balanced approach, diplomatically exploring both the paranormal explanation and the cynic’s viewpoint. It’s leaving the whole podcast feeling very well rounded, and not just an attempt to scare me out my pants. But now we’re in the last few minutes of the podcast and there are more revelations.
Have you heard about pubs that have walls that date back centuries and seem to have the ability to record and emit sounds? That are apparently capable of retaining the energy of sounds over hundreds of years and then transmit those same sounds years later? The Welsh village of Kenfig has such a pub, and there are apparently others. Could that be what’s happening here?
Ken learns about previous horrific events related to that room. Unexplained deaths. Lots of misery and negative energy. We’re in the realm of an environment that has the capacity to record and emit what we would call evil and it kind of makes sense. It certainly ties in with other events, like the retention of noise energy in those pub walls.
The Game Is Afoot
The podcast ends with Danny inviting people to get in touch with theories. He also wants to try to contact anyone else who has resided in room 611 in these Queen’s University’s Alanbrooke Halls in Belfast. The outcome of these requests will be the subject of a later episode.
There’s something very compelling about these’s podcasts. Maybe it’s the thrilling conundrums of the subject matter. Perhaps Danny Robins’ likeability and validity when presenting the case. The experts add an extra dimension to events, and the production (music / effects) works to great effect.
What is clear is that the outcome of this culmination of factors is a great listen. You’ll be shocked, unsettled and greatly entertained. I’m off to listen to Case 2 : The Hanging Room.